The American Inquisition
The cancer of Jew hatred has taken over the body of US academia.
This week we caught a glimpse of the advanced state of the disease in an email sent by a Syracuse University professor to an Israeli filmmaker in June.
As The Atlantic reported, on June 24, Syracuse professor Gail Hamner disinvited Israeli filmmaker Shimon Dotan from screening his film at the university’s film festival, scheduled for March 2017.
Hamner’s decision had nothing to do with the quality of Dotan’s work. She admitted as much, writing, “Obviously, my decision here has nothing to do with you or your work.”
Dotan was disinvited because he is Israeli and because the title of his film, The Settlers, does not make it immediately apparent whether he reviles the half million Israeli Jews who live in Judea and Samaria sufficiently.
Hamner explained, “My SU colleagues, on hearing about my attempt to secure your presentation [at our upcoming film festival], have warned me that the BDS faction on campus will make matters very unpleasant for you and for me if you come.”
She then elaborated on the harm his participation would cause her, personally.
“My film colleague… who granted me affiliated faculty [status] in the film and screen studies program and who supported my proposal to the Humanities Council for this conference, told me point blank that if I have not myself seen your film and cannot myself vouch for it to the council, I will lose credibility with a number of film and women/ gender studies colleagues. Sadly, I have not had the chance to see your film and can only vouch for it through my friend and through published reviews.”
Hamner added, “I feel caught in an ideological matrix and by my own egoic needs to sustain certain institutional affiliations.”
Hamner’s letter to Dotan provides us with a rare opportunity to see something that people generally go to great lengths to hide. Hamner demonstrated how boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists have enmeshed Jew hatred into the fabric of academic life in America.
The BDS movement is qualitatively different from all other groups that operate on campuses today.
Unlike even the most radical, fringe groups, the BDS movement isn’t seeking to advance or protect the rights of anyone. All it works to accomplish is the obliteration of Jewish rights, and indeed of Jewish existence in Israel.
Like Hamas and Iran, BDS activists seek the annihilation of the Jewish state. Like Hamas and Iran, the BDS movement does not strive to bring peace or to protect the rights of anyone. Rather, like Iran and Hamas, the goal of the BDS movement is the genocide of the largest Jewish population in the world and the annihilation of the only Jewish state in the world.
Bullying is the BDS movement’s preferred tactic.
They bully faculty, administrators and students into becoming anti-Semitic by harassing, ostracizing and persecuting everyone who refuses to actively promote Jew hatred.
To force everyone into line, BDS groups have adopted two complementary tactics. First, they try to banish Israeli Jews entirely from their campuses by bullying their institutions into adopting and implementing anti-Israel boycotts.
Second, they enforce partial bans on Israeli Jews by requiring Israeli and non-Israeli Jews to behave in manners no one would never think of requiring of Israeli Arabs, or Italians or Japanese for that matter.
BDS activists achieve both aims by bullying non-activists into enforcing their anti-Semitic positions – as Hamner did when she disinvited Dotan.
These actions are a clear violation not only of the civil rights of Israeli and non-Israeli Jews. They are also an indisputable violation of the civil rights of all students, administrators and faculty at US universities. They deny everyone the right to hear viewpoints and receive knowledge from Israeli Jews and so limit the academic freedom of everyone.
BDS is a postmodern version of the pure, unrefined Jew hatred of Medieval Europe. Five hundred years ago, the only Jews permitted to enter the public square were Christians. Jews were rejected, ostracized, expelled and killed unless they could enthusiastically and soulfully recite the catechisms.
On university campuses throughout the US today, Jews – Israeli and non-Israeli – are ostracized, silenced, harassed and humiliated unless they enthusiastically, soulfully and contritely declare their support for the annihilation of the Jewish state.
Non-Jews who do not require them to do so are similarly ostracized and otherwise punished.
Case in point is the fate of Milan Chatterjee.
Chatterjee is an Indian-American law student and a Hindu. Last year he was elected president of UCLA’s Graduate Students’ Association. Last week he announced his resignation from the post and his transfer to New York University Law School to complete his degree.
In a letter to UCLA chancellor Gene Block, Chatterjee explained that his decision was the result of relentless attacks, harassment and bullying he has suffered at the hands of BDS activists and their enablers in Block’s administration.
Chatterjee wrote Block: “Your administration has not only allowed BDS organizations and student activists to freely engage in intimidation of students who do not support the BDS agenda, but has decided to affirmatively engage in discriminatory practices of its own against those same students.
“Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the fact is that the UCLA campus has become a hostile and unsafe environment for students, Jewish students and non-Jewish, who choose not to support the BDS movement, let alone support the State of Israel.”
Chatterjee got on the wrong side of UCLA’s anti-Semitism enforcers in November 2015 when he adopted a student government policy of strict neutrality on BDS.
Under his leadership, the graduate council would neither support nor oppose BDS. To this end, he allocated funds for a “Diversity Caucus,” with the stipulation that the caucus remain neutral on BDS.
It was for his refusal to actively endorse BDS – rather than any action to oppose BDS – that Chatterjee became a target for the BDS mob. They submitted a bid to impeach him based on frivolous claims.
To its shame, rather than stand by Chatterjee, the administration joined the mob. Chatterjee was censured by the university and subjected to disciplinary proceedings. UCLA’s administration claimed that he had “violated university policy” for refusing to fund BDS groups.
Following Chatterjee’s decision to transfer to NYU, Kenneth Marcus, president of the Louis Brandeis Center, which supported Chatterjee throughout his year of anti-Semitic persecution, issued a statement.
Marcus noted, “It is disgraceful that anti-Israel extremists have managed to drive out this courageous and conscientious student leader for failing to capitulate to the demands of the anti-Semitic BDS movement. The Milan Chatterjee affair reflects the insidiousness of the anti-Israel movement’s new strategy, which is to suppress pro-Israel advocacy and intimidate not only Jewish pro-Israel students but anyone who remains neutral.”
Back at Syracuse, the ironic aspect of Hamner’s disinvitation of Dotan is that Dotan actually recites the catechism both personally and in his film. His only mistake was that he failed to make his convictions clear in the title of his movie.
The university administration was embarrassed by the publication of Hamner’s statement. As a result, last Friday Syracuse University provost Michelle Wheatley issued a mass email stating that Dotan had been reinvited to the conference and that Hamner had apologized for her letter.
The most notable aspect of Wheatley’s letter is that it contained no commitment to investigate her allegations of anti-Semitic intimidation on the part of faculty and student BDS goons. It contained no commitment to purge bigoted intimidation from campus or invite Israelis with Zionist views to speak at Syracuse or participate in university events. It contained no mention of any plans to discipline Hamner for engaging in bigoted actions.
Rather, it simply reinvited Dotan, whose anti-Israel credentials were belatedly sorted out.
For nearly eight years, US President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has refused to investigate the flagrant civil rights violations carried out by BDS activists, groups and their faculty and administration allies and enablers. So there is no reason to think that any federal investigation will be conducted any time soon.
Rather, we can expect anti-Jewish prejudice to become ever stronger and more brazen. We can expect Israeli Jews to be shunned to greater and greater degrees and for pro-Israel students, faculty and administrators – Jewish and non-Jewish – to become less and less free to voice their views.
And we can expect the US higher education system to speed up its slide into moral dystopia and intellectual corruption.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post